CTLS: Red – grounded energy is safe energy

And now, continuing on with the Color Thinking Leadership Series…let’s dive into red. I guess the title and the image told you that, huh?

Red is actually the seat of your power and grounding – or your powerlessness and frenetic energy. Oh, and that’s true as an individual and as a leader. It’s not really surprising that being grounded as an individual makes us better leaders, is it?

Red is about passion, energy, comfort and security.

The aligned leader attributes (light): You show up as knowing what keeps you grounded and what gives you energy and passion. You are able to pass that on to your people. You are able to create a safe, stable culture. You share your sense of commitment and passion. You are able to respond to urgent issues and crises with a calming sense of stability without downplaying the urgency. Your leadership is a grounding force, and your people are comfortable with you as their leader.

The shadow leader attributes: You show up as being insecure, frantic, bouncing from one crisis to the next and unreliable. You tend to be overly dramatic. Your people don’t feel that you are concerned with their safety and stability. You come across as a victim, not someone with authentic authority.

What it feels like to you is that you are always in survival mode, and you are powerless to effectively address things. You are angry. You are exhausted from drumming up the energy to deal with the drama of things, and from fighting off threats and attacks that seem to want to constantly undermine your authority… and you don’t feel confident or secure in your leadership at all.

It’s not an all or nothing situation, right? You may experience some of the light and some of the shadow. That’s normal! But there’s always room for improvement. Developing more of the light attributes will make us a more authentic and aligned leader, and waaaay more comfortable in our own abilities! Color Thinking can help! We ask questions about ourselves as individuals, of course, but we also ask questions about ourselves as leaders.

Red questions build comfort: What would make me feel safe? What makes others feel safe? How can I share or create that safety with my people? How can I let them know that I care about their security?

Red questions create energy: What am I passionate about? What’s the source of that passion? How can I share and extend that to my people? How can I tap into their own passions and energy? How can I minimize drama? How can I be the grounding energy?

Red questions create power: What if I am not a victim? Where can I take more  responsibility? How can I look for both long term answers AND address current urgent issues?

Red questions create actions: Now, what can I do to BE this leader? What do I need to change, think, believe? What behaviors do I need to change?

When you have your answers, use the color life hack that we talked about last week. Let red remind you to make the changes that you want to make…even if it’s small steps.

As you become aware of some of the changes you want to make, you may not feel 100% confident in them…yet. That’s okay. You might need to take little steps. You might actually need to fake it until you make it. It might feel awkward. It might feel vulnerable. That’s okay, too. That’s not being inauthentic, that’s practicing. That’s what leaders do.

In the meantime, remember these things: You are loved. We are all loved. Let’s all be kind. And in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light,



If you’re interested in using Color Thinking for your own leadership development program, let’s talk. Email: Maggie@maggiehuffman.com


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